After the Challenger blew up, I remember jokes appearing really quickly. According (and thanks!) to Google's indexing of net.jokes, the first post appeared on January 31st, 1986, five days after the incident.
The original poster goes through an initial act of contrition, apologizing for the content before jumping right in. I really like that dynamic between the tense "we have to do something" feeling and the tension-relieving wisecrack. When do we really have to pay attention? And when should we drop it with some soma-lite laughter?
As an aside, a little Serendipity goes a long way; while reading through jokes from 1986, I ran into this one that transported me back to 6th grade:
How do you make a dead baby float?
You don't need to make a dead baby float.
You can get dead baby floats left over from dead baby parades.